Wandless magic

Albus Dumbledore casting Arresto Momentum without a wand

Wandless magic was the performance of magic without the use of a wand. It could be volatile and was often difficult to perform, and could thus only be reliably accomplished by witches and wizards of great skill.[1] However, there were cultures which traditionally did not use wands, and thus favoured wandless magic.[1][2]

Nature and practice

Witches and wizards used wands to channel magic, thus making the effects of spells more accurate and potent.[1] Only the most powerful and disciplined wizards and witches were able to perform advanced wandless magic reliably.[1] Transfiguration and charms were particularly difficult to carry out without a wand.[1]

However, the wand was a European invention, and some cultures traditionally did not rely upon wands for performing magic.[1][2]

Native American witches and wizards traditionally practised wandless magic.[1] African witches and wizards also historically practised wandless magic and continued to use it to cast many spells even after adopting the wand in the 20th century.[2]

Underage magic

Main article: Underage magic

Wandless spells were often used in cases of underage magic, in which children under the age of eleven, who had no wands, sometimes used magic. This was known as Accidental Wandless Magic. On most of these occasions, the children had no control over their abilities, and would unintentionally use magic when upset or in danger.

Some children, however, exerted some control over their magic, but they were untrained in proper spells. For example, Tom Riddle was able to hurt people and influence animals before he even knew of the existence of the wizarding world,[3] and Lily Evans was able to use magic to stop herself falling as fast as normal and also to manipulate a flower.

Known practitioners

The following people have been known to perform spells intentionally without use of a wand:

Andros the Invencible

Andros the Invincible

Possible practitioners

The following people may or may not have intentionally performed spells without use of a wand:

Non-human wandless magic

Main article: House-elf magic

Elves and goblins are able to perform magic without wands. Goblins sometimes refer to wizards and witches as "wand bearers" and humans' failure to share wand knowledge with goblins is a source of ill-feeling between the two species.

Behind the scenes

Screen shot 2012-01-29 at 6.21.25 PM

Voldemort moving a giant's body out of his path by waving his hand

  • Tom Riddle, a.k.a Lord Voldemort, also only performed wandless magic in the films, not counting the controlled magic he performed prior to going to Hogwarts. In the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film, Voldemort wandlessly knocked Harry to the ground when waving his hand in front of Harry's face, deflected Harry's Disarming Charm by waving his hand, and magically lifted Harry from the ground with one hand, applying force to the latter's face from a distance whilst pulling him to his feet. He again used wandless magic on Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, impatiently disarming the boy with a wave of his wand-free hand. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Voldemort again used wandless magic to move a dead giant out of the way (possible with Mobilicorpus) and to make his cloak extend and restrain Harry.

Minerva McGonagall casting a wandless Avifors Spell

  • In the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoy appears to close the shutters on the Hogwarts Express without a wand, though its more likely that a Protean Charm had been placed upon them.
  • In the book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry casts the Lumos spell in the dark alley to get some light and find his wand. The spell was cast without the wand in his hand and yet the wand itself performed the Lumos spell which allowed him to know where the wand was.
  • In the film version Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Percival Graves, later revealed to have been impersonated by Gellert Grindelwald, was highly skilled in moving, levitating, and otherwise exerting force on either objects or people with a hand gesture alone. His abilities allowed him to generate a forceful shockwave that cause a ripple in the ground, cause people to levitate and fly, such as Newt Scamander and Credence Barebone, summon objects like Newton Scamander's suitcase over to him and Newton Scamander's wand to his hand, and even send an automobile flying across a street.
  • Altheda from the fairy tale The Fountain of Fair Fortune may have been able to perform wandless magic, as she was able to brew a potion when her wand was stolen. In reality in-universe this would require her to cast a potion-making spell, though Beedle the Bard may have ignored this fact as part of his fairy tale.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "History of Magic in North America: Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century" from Pottermore
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Uagadou" at Pottermore" from Pottermore
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
  5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Original script of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) - NGC version (see this image)
  9. Original script of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
  10. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  11. Hermione is seen using a wandless spell in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film), during the Quidditch trail with Ron and Cormac when she uses a 'Confundus' charm against Cormac without any wand.
  12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) - PS2 version (see this image)
  13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) - NCG version (see this image)
  14. It might have been due to the presence of Voldemort in Quirrell's body that allowed him to perform wandless magic in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film).
  15. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
  16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch)
  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3 (The Knight Bus)
  18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)